(This week, Cheap Bastard hits Dairy-ette (9785 Ferguson Road, 214-327-9983) and finds something better than Sonic and Whataburger. For that kind of digging, we're thinking of moving her to investigations.)
Ceiling leaks: 2 (size large) People actually reading the whole newspaper: 3
Dairy-ette is like a Sonic. Only better. Their burgers taste like Whataburger burgers. Only better. Basically, everything about dining at Dairy-ette is exactly one million times better than dining at a Sonic or Whataburger. (Whatever, I did the research. I know math. These are hard-hitting facts.)
When you order food at a Sonic, if someone calls you "sweetheart," it sounds false. In fact, in most Dallas restaurants, a server calling me "sweetheart" is likely to get an uppercut to the boob. But in the Dairy-ette, when you order a cheeseburger and a side of onion rings with a Coke, and the nice lady at the counter says, "Sure thing, sweetheart," it feels so right that for a second you think maybe that's your actual real name and your whole life you've been living this "[Whatever your stupid name usually is]" bullshit lie.
My cheeseburger was good (thin patty burger, but still big, Whataburger-style) and the onion rings tasted better than making out with Tinker Bell feels. The food here gets to your table when it gets to your table. Everybody's smiling, nobody's rushing. And, it's nice. When you walk in the door, it's like they do some Jedi mind trick with calm-the-fuck-down-ed-ness in it. Every person here is reading a paper, or having an actual conversation with the person sitting across the table (whether they know that person or not).
Dairy-ette opened in 1956 and from the looks of the place, it hasn't changed much since then. Unlike many Dallas restaurants, the Dairy-ette isn't trying to be something it's not. There's not one piece of décor in there that was added ironically. Nobody was like, "Ooh, you know what we should do? We should have a leaky ceiling so people know it's cool here." It's not trying to be cool. It just is cool. It's the Johnny Depp of burger joints. (That means that Sonic is Scott Stapp, BTW.)
The Dairy-ette burger is everything your face wants when you tell it you're getting it burgers for lunch. Go there. Just remember to bring your cash. Dairy-ette didn't take credit cards when it opened in 1956 and it sure as shit doesn't take them now, either. Gotta preserve that time capsule.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.